No. 4 Kansas will face No. 14/15 Memphis for the third time in the last four seasons on a neutral court when the two meet up in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden, Tuesday, Dec. 7 at 6 p.m. (Central). The game will be televised on ESPN and ESPN 3D and is the first of a doubleheader as Michigan State and Syracuse will play after the KU-Memphis contest.
Both Kansas and Memphis are 7-0 the season. The Jimmy V Classic raises funds and awareness for cancer research.
No. 4 Kansas has a 7-0 record for the second straight season following its 77-76 win against UCLA in the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series contest on Dec. 2. The Jayhawks average 89.9 points and give up 59.4 for a +30.4 scoring margin. KU leads the Big 12 with 21.1 assists per game, a 56.9 field goal percentage and averages 6.3 blocked shots per contest.
Junior forward Marcus Morris leads the team with an 18.6 ppg scoring average and is tied for the team high with a 64.5 shooting percentage. Marcus is second on the team with nine three-pointers made and in rebounds with a 6.3 average.
Marcus' twin, Markieff Morris, a junior forward, leads Kansas in rebounds with 9.1 per contest to complement his 11.9 scoring average. Junior Tyshawn Taylor leads KU in assists with 6.7 per contest and he is second in steals with 13. Taylor scores 10.4 points per game.
Senior guard Tyrel Reed averages 10.1 points per game after his career-high 17 points against UCLA and has made a team-best 11 three-pointers through seven games. Reed is also 14-for-14 from the free throw line for KU. Senior guard Brady Morningstar rounds out the Kansas starters. He leads the team with 15 steals, is second on the squad with 22 assists and is scoring 5.6 points per game.
Top reserves for Kansas include sophomore forward Thomas Robinson (9.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg), sophomore guard Travis Releford (7.1 ppg, eight three-pointers made, 64.5 field goal percentage), senior guard Mario Little (6.9 ppg, five blocked shots), sophomore guard Elijah Johnson (5.4 ppg) and sophomore center Jeff Withey (3.0 ppg, 11 blocked shots).
No. 14 by the Associated Press and No. 15 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll, Memphis is 7-0 on the season following its 77-61 win against Western Kentucky last Saturday (Dec. 4). The Tigers are scoring 85.3 points and giving up 65.7 for a +19.6 scoring average and force 18.4 turnovers per game.
Memphis averages 11 steals per game and 5.9 blocked shots. Junior forward/guard Wesley Witherspoon leads Memphis in scoring with 13.7 points per game and rebounding at 5.0 rpg. He is tied for second on the team with 13 steals. Freshman guard Joe Jackson is next in scoring at 12.1 ppg and he leads Memphis with 30 steals.
Freshman guard Will Barton has 13 steals and is scoring 11.9 points per contest. Freshman guard Chris Crawford comes off the bench and leads the team with 12 three-pointers made. He has an 8.0 scoring average.
Junior guard Charles Carmouche (7.6 points, team-high 15 steals) and sophomore forward/guard D.J. Stephens (3.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg) join Witherspoon, Jackson and Barton in the starting lineup.
Kansas leads the all-time series 5-2 and has won the last three matchups including last year's 59-57 win in the Basketball Hall-of-Fame Showcase in at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo.
The five meetings prior to the 2008 NCAA National Championship were played in the decade of the 1980s. KU claimed the first matchup 59-49 at Memphis in 1981, and the last three - a 64-62 victory in the ECAC Holiday Festival in New York, N.Y., during the 1987-88 campaign and the 75-68 overtime thriller in the 2008 NCAA National Championship game in San Antonio.
Other match ups include a Memphis win 64-58 at Lawrence on Dec. 18, 1982, a KU win 75-71 at Lawrence on Feb. 9, 1985, and a Memphis win 83-80 in overtime at Memphis on Jan. 4, 1986. Expect a close game as all but one KU-Memphis games have been decided by five points or less or in overtime.
Kansas has played 10 teams from the current membership of Conference USA and is 59-15 against the field. Last year, Kansas' future NBA trio of Cole Aldrich (18 points), Sherron Collins (12) and Xavier Henry (11) combined for 41 of KU's points in the 59-57 win in St. Louis. Aldrich led all rebounders with 11 and had five blocked shots.
Kansas has three current players who were members of the 2008 NCAA National Championship team but none played against Memphis in the title game.
Seniors Tyrel Reed and Conner Teahan were active for the game, while senior Brady Morningstar was a 2007-08 redshirt.
Jimmy V Classic:
Kansas is 0-2 in the Jimmy V Classic having last played Saint Joseph's in the event on Dec. 6, 2005, in Madison Square Garden and falling 70-67. KU's other appearance in the Jimmy V Classic resulted in a 75-66 overtime loss to Temple in the 1995 event in East Rutherford, N.J. Kansas has lost its last four games played in Madison Square Garden as it went 0-2 in the building in the 2002 Preseason NIT.
--Kansas leads the Big 12 in scoring offense (89.9), scoring margin (+30.4), field goal percentage (56.9), three-point field goal percentage defense (23.4), assists (21.1), blocked shots (6.3) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.8).
--Under Bill Self, Kansas has led the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense all but one season and that year KU was second. The Jayhawks' field goal percentage defense through seven games is 37.6 percent. Last year, KU led the league and was fourth nationally with a 37.9 field goal percentage defense.
--Kansas' bench averages 33 points compared to its opponents' 20 ppg.
--Kansas' 57-point win against Ohio (98-41) in the Las Vegas Invitational was the third-largest margin of victory in the Bill Self era and the largest in a game away from Allen Fieldhouse in the Self era.
--Kansas went 6-0 in the month of November and has 12-straight wins in the month dating back to the 2008-09 season. In the Bill Self era, KU is 31-4 (88.6 percent) in the month of November.
--Kansas ended the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series with a 3-1 record (1-1 vs. Arizona, 2-0 vs. UCLA).
--Kansas has used the starting line-up of Tyshawn Taylor, Brady Morningstar, Tyrel Reed, Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris in each of the last five games.
--Junior MARCUS MORRIS was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week on Nov. 29 following his Las Vegas Invitational MVP honors. Morris leads KU in scoring at 18.6 ppg and has three games of 20-plus points this season. He has led Kansas in scoring in five of seven games this season and has pulled down 23 rebounds total in his last three games. Morris' 18.6 ppg is third in the Big 12. He also ranks among conference leaders in shooting percentage (third at 64.5), rebounding (tied for 15th at 6.3) and three-point field goals made (tied for 14th at 1.3).
--Junior MARKIEFF MORRIS, twin of Marcus, was named to the Las Vegas Invitational all-tournament team. He is averaging 11.9 points per game and a team-best 9.1 rebounds. Markieff has scored in double figures in all but two games this season and had a season-high 15 points against Arizona (Nov. 27). Markieff's 9.1 rebound average is third in the Big 12 as he has pulled down eight-plus boards in five games this season. Markieff been the leading rebounder for KU in four of seven games this season.
--Junior TYSHAWN TAYLOR leads the Big 12 and ranks in the top 10 nattionally in assists per game at 6.7. Taylor has led KU in assists in six of seven games this season. In his last four games, Taylor is 19-for-29 (65.5 percent) from the field. He had a season-tying 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting against UCLA (Dec. 2) with four assists and five steals. Taylor is scoring 10.4 points per game compared to 7.2 ppg last season. Taylor is fifth in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.4.
--Senior TYREL REED scored a career-high 17 points on 5-of-7 shooting against UCLA (Dec. 2). He had 15 points in the first half and was 3-for-4 from three-point range for the game. Reed has started all seven games and is averaging 10.1 ppg. He leads the team with 11 three-pointers made and is 14-for-14 from the free throw line. One of 30 nominees for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, Reed tied for 10th in the Big 12 in three-point percentage at 34.4. and his 1.6 threes made per game are tied for 10th.
--Senior BRADY MORNINGSTAR leads the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.8. He leads KU with 15 steals on the season and his 2.1 spg average is tied for fourth in the Big 12. Scoring 5.6 points per game, Morningstar had a career-high 10 assists against North Texas (Nov. 19) and is tied for 10th in the Big 12 in assists at 3.1 per game. Against UCLA (Dec. 2), Morningstar scored six points on 3-of-3 shooting.
--Sophomore THOMAS ROBINSON scored 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting against Arizona (Nov. 27). He had two dunks and was 4-for-5 from the free throw line against the Wildcats. Robinson averages 9.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game and is shooting 61.9 percent from the field.
--Sophomore TRAVIS RELEFORD was a Las Vegas Invitational all-tournament selection that has made five three-pointers in his last three games and eight for the season. He has scored 10-plus points in three of his last four games, including a career-high 13 points against Ohio (Nov. 26).
--Senior MARIO LITTLE led Kansas with eight rebounds against UCLA (Dec. 2). He also scored nine points against the Bruins, including the game-winning free throw. Little is scoring 6.9 points per game and is shooting 54.3 percent from the field. Little, 6-6, has five blocked shots on the season.
--Sophomore JEFF WITHEY leads Kansas with 11 blocked shots and his 1.6 blocks per game are fifth in the Big 12. He is scoring 3.0 points per game. Withey averages 7.9 minutes per game compared to 3.0 last season.
--Sophomore ELIJAH JOHNSON is averages 5.4 points, 2.8 assists and has a 3.5 assist-to-turnover ratio. Johnson averaged 6.6 minutes last year, while he is playing 15.6 minutes this season so far.
Kansas will play Colorado State on Saturday, Dec. 11, in the M&I Bank Kansas City Shootout at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. The game will tip at 5:30 p.m. and be televised on ESPN2. KU will then take a week off before hosting USC on Dec. 18 at 11 a.m. on ESPN.